Cupping, an ancient healing tool that has been traced back to ancient Egypt, China, Europe, Africa and Native American cultures and has gained worldwide attention after Michael Phelps, United States Gold Medal Olympic swimmer, swam in the 2016 Rio Olympics with circular bruise marks on his back and shoulder, caused by cupping.
Phelps has been using this therapy technique to help his muscles recover and perform at their best. It involves a therapist heating small glass cups, then placing them on the skin and pulling them from the body to loosen and relax the muscles.
Michael Phelps is a firm believer in the power of cupping, “Our bodies are going to hurt after doing this for so long. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever had. It has saved me from a lot of pain.”
What is cupping?
The treatment creates a partial vacuum on the skin using cups. The result is a suction that increases blood and energy flow to the area. The increase of circulation facilitates localized healing. Cupping relieves pain is by opening up the meridians, or energy channels, of the body and improving energy flow to every organ and tissue of the body. Cupping also triggers body tissues to release toxins and activates the lymphatic system which helps to alleviate aches and pains.
The cupping process:
Glass cups are fitted with a valve that attaches to a small hand-operated pump, allowing the practitioner to suck out air without having to rely on fire to depressurize the cup first. It also gives them greater control over the amount of suction. The modern name for cupping is baguanfa or suction cup therapy.
In order to allow the cups to move over the skin easily, oil is used. Oils that have been infused with extracts of medicinal herbs are particularly useful. The cups are applied at room temperature, and there is some friction generated with moving cups, causing a small but significant amount of heat, especially if a warming oil is also used.
Cups are generally left in place for ten minutes although the time can range from five to fifteen minutes. The skin will redden due to the congestion of blood flow and some bruising on the skin is to be expected.
What can cupping relieve?
This natural treatment isn’t only great for general body aches, pain, and stress. Cupping can be an excellent noninvasive treatment for:
- Acute pain such as sprains and strains
- Dull aches and pains, arthritis
- Edema and swellings
- Respiratory issues like asthma, chronic cough, and bronchitis
- Abdominal pain, stomachache and indigestion
- Painful menstruation and associated low back pain
- Coughs from excessive mucus
The Wellness Center is your premier place for getting cupping in Denver. We can work with you to create the perfect treatment plan based on your unique needs and lifestyle. Cupping can be done is just a 30 minute session with one of our skilled practitioners.
If you are interested in booking a cupping session, you can book with any of the following Denver cupping therapists:
Acupuncturists: Dr. Shwu-Yar Tsai and Gabriella Rivera, L.Ac
Chiropractor: Dr. Tim Price
Massage Therapists: Amie Kern, CMT, Linda Moiseyev, CMT and Shannon McFall – Michelson, CMT